Smoking belly bacon -- WSM or MES?

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by jak757, May 17, 2010.

  1. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I've got my first batch of bacon curing in the refrigerator. Started small as it's my first time -- 6 lbs. I wonder if anyone has a recommendation for smoking in either a WSM (I just got one!), or MES. A friend of mine has an MES, and would let me use it. I'm thinking the MES may be easier to control temps, so if you have any thoughts, please chime in -- I'd appreciate the input.

    Took pics of the curing process, Ill post QView when it's all done.

    By the way -- I have a local source of pork bellies -- they were selling for $2.39 a lb -- can someone give me an idea on how that compares? Good price or not?

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For your first question:
    I don't know anything about the WSM, but I've done all my bacons on my MES. It works fine, but it's hard to put a lot of smoke on it without going up in temp more than I like to. My next bacon will be with my new A-MAZE-N-SMOKER smoke generator in the MES. Then I can put a lot of smoke on it, while maintaining any temp I want with my MES. Like I said, I don't know if you can hammer smoke with the WSM without going up in temperature.

    As for the price you paid, My first belly, I paid $2 per pound. My second one was from the same butcher, but he said it was from a different supplier. It cost me about $3 per pound. Those were both without the rind. I guess sometimes it depends where the Pork Belly market is at the time. $2.39 sounds real good to me.

    I shall await your qview,
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I have done a couple cold smokes in my GOSM and I think you could do the same in about any smoker. I just used the chip pan and placed a couple of burning charcoal briquettes in with some chips and placed it in the bottom of the smoker. I had to replace the briquettes and chips a couple times but it worked. Once I got close to the amount of smoke in I wanted I lit the smoker to get the meat to the temps I was looking for. However with belly bacon I honestly don't care at all about the internal meat temps other than to keep them very low so I don't render the fat as I will be cooking it before serving I wouldn't even light the smoker itself. If I was going to cold smoke that way right now I think I'd buy one of those A-MAZE-N-SMOKER things to make it much easier

    Oh and the price on the belly is very close to what they are here
  4. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thanks fellas. Looks like I could go with either. May go with my new WSM and just a couple coals and chips as suggested.

    I'll post the results.
  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I use my MES and picked up some "Utensil Holders" at Menards for under $1, to hang from the racks.

    6-8 hours was plenty of smoke for me. Let them rest in the fridge overnight and you'll have some awesome bacon My Friend!

  6. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thanks for the input Todd. Have you used your Amaz-n-smoker for bacon? Looking forward to getting mine!
  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm kinda prejudice[​IMG][​IMG] It's all I use anymore.

    Yes, it works great for bacon. I smoke bacon for about 6 hours, and then run my MES up to 150* for a couple hours, or until the internal temp of the bacon gets to 120*.

    The result is a very nice looking "Golden Bronze" color to the outside and nice smokey flavor. Lots of different ways, but for some reason, this seems to work for me.

    PM me or email me if you have any questions?

  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have my old GOSM and I will be using it for a bacon smoke soon enough. I would do like Jerry (pineywoods) said for when we did the 170lbs they came out really good. But that a-mazing smoker thingy is really good way to cold smoke because you after flavor not cooking the bacon. That way you can fry it up as you would normaling cook bacon.
  9. We'll be smoking bacon tomorrow or Monday - depends on the pellicle. We did a standard cure with maple syrup and black & 4 peppercorn blend. We got 17 lbs of belly - rind on, put it in the cure last Thursday night in CA and kept it iced down in the cooler on our way back to North Dakota. Yesterday we washed it and dried it and put it in the fridge.

    We'll smoke on hanging racks in our GOSM over apple and maple to 150. It will go back in the fridge to chill off, then we'll repeat the process twice more. During smoking we'll spray it down with a mix of bourbon and apple cider and there'll be apple cider with apples in the water bowl.

    This time, after the last smoke is done we'll crank the heat a bit and put a bunch of garlic heads in to smoke.

    We had a hard time getting good pork belly locally - but while we were on vacation in CA we went to our favorite Mexican grocery for bellies. I've got some jowls in the freezer I'm going to cure off and smoke next.

    It's good to be smoking again!!!!

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